I’ve been waiting for quite a while (almost a year) to try this place out. I don’t know why it took me so long but that’s besides the point. I finally made it!. Since I’ve moved to Hamilton, whenever I talk to people about restaurants to try in the area, the Bread Bar is always one of their top suggestions. My dad wanted to come to Hamilton for dinner last week and it didn’t take much convincing on my part to get him here. He checked out the menu beforehand and was just as excited as I was.
As most of you know, traffic coming into the city during rush hour is rage inducing, so it comes as no surprise that my dad didn’t make it for 5:30. While I was waiting for him to arrive, I decided to sit at the bar with a nice glass of red wine. The staff was very attentive, keeping me company while I waited and ensuring I had everything I needed.
At the bar they have bowls perfectly arranged with a selection of their house pickles, carrots and other veggies. I actually didn’t get to try any but they looked delicious. I think this is a really good idea in lieu of bread. It’s always nice to have something to snack on while you’re waiting for your food (or your dad) to arrive, and I think these veggies are a great alternative.
To the right of the bar is a beautiful and tempting display of their baked goods. Their pies and cookies look phenomenal and there’s pizza available by the slice. Directly across from this display is a cold fridge where you can buy a pie or a selection of their desserts to take away. While I was sitting at the bar, sipping my wine, I watched one of the staff cutting the apple pie and I just thought to myself, you won’t find anything like that in a grocery store.
A short while later my dad arrived (fist pump!) and we managed to get a table right away. I had been scoping out the room for guests that were finishing their meals as I was waiting and was able to score a table for two by the window. I mentioned that I really wanted to try the kale Caesar salad and luckily my dad was all for it. The kale leaves were very tender and added a wonderfully earthy flavour to the traditional Caesar taste. I’m most familiar with the curly-leaf kale compared to the flat, more tender leaved kale used in this salad. I’m not sure which variety of Kale they used here but I intend to ask next time I visit because it was delicious. I was really impressed with how well balanced this salad was, especially because the kale leaves were so soft, a heavy dressing would just drown the salad. It’s topped with a fair amount of parmesan, bacon and strips of white anchovy. I normally wouldn’t eat anchovies (on anything) but I promised myself I’d try new things. I’m glad I did because they were so tasty! They weren’t as salty as I remember anchovies to be and actually complimented the salad nicely.
Mmmmm pizza. I love a good pizza. We got our own individual portions which were out of this world. The stone baked dough was crispy, fluffy and had almost a creaminess to it. My dad ordered the Bee Sting pizza which has tomato sauce, mozzarella, local honey, chillies, ricotta cheese and strips of spicy salami. The ricotta on this pizza is perfect because it provides a wonderful balance against the sweetness of the honey and heat of the chillies. Sweet and spicy go together like peanut butter and jelly. I think its a brilliant idea to pair them on a pizza. Needless to say, it works and it’s delicious.
I ordered the Vampire Slayer. Not only is the name awesome but this pizza has brie on it. I’m a sucker for cheese to begin with but brie? C’mon, I can’t resist. It comes topped with a white béchamel sauce, roasted garlic cloves and arugula. There’s something about leafy arugula on a pizza that makes you think you’re eating healthy. The garlic wasn’t as overpowering as you might think. Roasting the garlic tones down its potency and brings out its natural sweetness. It was a delicious addition to the pizza combined with the creaminess of the sauce and melted brie.
Thankfully, by opting to take some pizza home, we had room in our bellies to try some dessert. My dad initially wanted to try one of their peanut butter cookies but once we heard about the cheesecake they had that night, we couldn’t resist. It was topped with caramelised pears and drizzled with a sweet brandy sauce. The cheesecake was so creamy and melted in your mouth like cheesecake should. The pears were soft but still firm enough and provided a wonderful texture and sweetness alongside the brandy sauce. I’m going to go ahead and say this is the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. No lie, I will tell my grandchildren about it.
Earth to Table: Bread Bar is Located at 258 Locke Street South in Hamilton. If you’re from around here, you probably know there’s little to no parking on Locke Street, especially around dinner time. It’s best to find a free spot on a side street and walk over.